Dieting is Unhealthy!

Dieting is unhealthy! If you are looking to lose a few pounds and find yourself searching the internet for the best diet from the myriad of weight loss diets promoted, stop! The first truth you need to understand is....

Dieting is Unhealthy

Photo by Tony Alter

Research has shown that losing weight and regaining it over and over again is more damaging to your health than merely remaining over weight. There are many serious health consequences to Yo-Yo dieting.

Dr. Ulrich of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted research on 114 overweight women evaluating their weight history. 75% of the women had lost 10 pounds or more more than once in the previous 20 years. The dangers of this Yo-Yo dieting pattern became evident when researchers looked at health markers in these women.

The researchers measured natural killer cell levels in the women. Natural killer cells are part of the immune system that have a role in fighting cancer and viral infection.

The women who had engaged in yo-yo dieting five or more times had the lowest levels of natural killer cells. The women who had the highest level of NKC's were those who had maintained a stable weight for many years. This indicates an increased risk of viral infection and cancer among women who yo-yo diet as opposed to those who maintain a stable weight.

Other studies on weight cycling or yo-yo dieting have found increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gallbladder disease. Studies have shown that dieting is unhealthy, so what should you do to lose weight?

If you are not ready to commit to an entire lifestyle change you should probably avoid searching for the latest fad diet and wait until you are ready to make a change. Dieting is unhealthy, it will not lead to lasting weight loss and some diets are down right dangerous!

Low Carb Diets are Extremely Dangerous!

You may understand that dieting is unhealthy, but many people don't recognize fad diets and why they can be dangerous to your health as well. Let's start with the ever popular low carb diets. Why are they unhealthy?

Let's begin with some information from nutrition experts on low carb fad diets.

The Chair of Harvard's nutrition department went on record before a 1973 U.S. Senate Select Committee investigating fad diets: "The Atkins Diet is nonsense... Any book that recommends unlimited amounts of meat, butter, and eggs, as this one does, in my opinion is dangerous. The author who makes the suggestion is guilty of malpractice." 4

The Chair of the American Medical Association’s Council on Food and Nutrition testified before the Senate Subcommittee why the AMA felt they had to formally publish an official condemnation of the Atkins Diet: "A careful scientific appraisal was carried out by several council and staff members, aided by outside consultants. It became apparent that the [Atkins] diet as recommended poses a serious threat to health."

Obesity and Fad Diets. U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. 12 April 1973 CIS S581-13.

A 2003 review of Atkins "theories" in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded: "When properly evaluated, the theories and arguments of popular low carbohydrate diet books… rely on poorly controlled, non-peer-reviewed studies, anecdotes and non-science rhetoric. This review illustrates the complexity of nutrition misinformation perpetrated by some popular press diet books. A closer look at the science behind the claims made for [these books] reveals nothing more than a modern twist on an antique food fad."

Journal of the American College of Nutrition 22(2003):9.

There have been a few longer term studies conducted on low carb diets, none of which have shown low carb diets to offer increased weight loss over other diets.

One study compared several diets: Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers and The Zone diet. Interestingly, over the long term the atkins diet participants had the least overall weight loss at the end of the year.
The Ornish diet participants had the greatest weight loss by the end of the year.

Interestingly by the end of the study 50% of the Atkings participants had dropped out and the participants who finished the study on the Atkins diet had lost only 4% of their weight.

Atkins has remained popular because the initial weight loss is rapid and is encouraging to dieters. However, after 6 months weight loss often slows.

Dansinger, M.L., Gleason, J. L., Griffith, J.L., et al., "One Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight and Heart Disease Risk," Presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions November 12, 2003 in Orlando, Florida.

Muscle cramping is a common phenomenon on low carb diets as the body also loses electrolytes along wtih ketones. The kidnye's will flush out electrolytes like calcium, magnesium and potassium on a low carb diet leading to charlie horses or muscle cramping.

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 12(2002):396

It is important to recognize that the brain MUST have glucose for fuel and cannot be fueled by fat or the metabolic waste produced by the breakdown of fats and therefore mental functioning declines on ketogenic diets.

Research published in the International Journal of Obesity "Cognitive Effects of Ketogenic Weight-Reducing Diets," researchers randomized people to either a ketogenic or a nonketogenic weight loss diet. Participants in both groups lost the same amount of weight, those on the ketogenic diet suffered a significant drop in cognitive performance.

After one week in ketosis, higher order mental processing and mental flexibility significantly worsened into what the researcher called a "modest neuropsychological impairment."

I could go on and on listing the dangerous effects of low carb diets and other fad diets, but hopefully this will open your eyes to the reality that dieting is unhealthy!

Restricting fruits that contain cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals is nutritional non-sense!

If dieting is unhealthy, what can I do to lose weight?


I know you are wondering if dieting is unhealthy that's fine, but I still need to lose weight. Losing weight should not be the primary focus, the focus should be on living a healthy lifesyle and weight loss will be the natural result.

" Residents of Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, are known for their long average life expectancy, high numbers of centenarians, and accompanying low risk of age-associated diseases. Much of the longevity advantage in Okinawa is thought to be related to a healthy lifestyle, particularly the traditional diet, which is low in calories yet nutritionally dense, especially with regard to phytonutrients in the form of antioxidants and flavonoids. Research suggests that diets associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases are similar to the traditional Okinawan diet, that is, vegetable and fruit heavy (therefore phytonutrient and antioxidant rich) but reduced in meat, refined grains, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and full-fat dairy products.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 28, No. 4_Supplement_1, 500S-516S (2009)

Research has consistently shown certain dietary habits that offer the greatest protection against disease and benefits for optimal weight loss....The Okinawan diet highlights all the key factors that dozens upon dozens of research studies show....

A diet high in fruits and vegetables
A diet low in meat, saturated fat, and dairy products
A diet high in whole grains
Low intake of refined grains

Dieting is unhealthy, but living an active, healthy lifestyle is the key to weight loss!

Take a look at the recipes on this site, read information about balanced diets high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and enjoy optimal weight loss, longevity and health.

Dieting is Unhealthy! Learn Healthy Recipes and Living